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Projects - prof.dr. E (Esther) Turnhout

Esther Turnhout's research program on the politics of Environmental knowledge addresses the following themes:

The science policy interface, to analyze the political dynamics -related to the in and exclusion of knowledge, knowledge holders and knowledge users - at play in the relation between the production and use of knowledge.

  • How are science-policy-society relations imagined and justified in the environmental domain and how are they enacted in practice?
  • What dynamics and factors influence the relation between science and policy in practice? How does science inform decision-making and what is the role of other forms of knowledge?
  • What processes of selection and exclusion are involved in attempt to optimize the relation between the production and use of knowledge for specific prospected knowledge users

The performativity of knowledge, to apply a critical lens on representation (based on Foucauldian notions of performativity as well as coproduction and ontological politics) to processes of environmental knowledge making and their role in governance processes:

  • What choices and values are reflected in environmental knowledge? How are these justified?
  • What representations of nature and environment are promoted and ignored? What and whose knowledge is included and excluded?
  • How are these representations enacted in practice and with what implications for people and environment?

Roles of science, tp analyze the implementation of new ideals for science-policy-society relations like transdisciplinarity or knowledge brokering:

  • How do new ideals and concepts of science, such as transdisciplinarity or knowledge brokering, materialize in practice?
  • How do scientific and lay knowledge combine (or not) in these practices?
  • What roles of science are conducive to fostering accountability and legitimacy?
  • What mechanisms inside and outside science constrain and enable scientists from playing new roles?

Citizen science, to analyze the relation between science and citizens in envirommental knowledge making with specific attention for notions of citizenship, legitimacy and democracy.

  • How is the citizen imagined and constructed in different citizen science projects?
  • How are the concerns and knowledges of citizens aligned (or not) with those of science?
  • What scope is there for citizens to use, negotiate or resist scientific knowledge?
  • Under what conditions can practices of citizen science contribute to accountability and legitimacy of science?

I welcome reserach projects that address one or more themes and research questions. In addition, I have a specific interest in global environmental knowledge making processes, specifically in the field of biodiversity and in the context of IPBES (the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), and in the field of forest carbon accounting and monitoring for global climate governance and REDD+.

Research projects: